Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wives for Virginia, 1621

As background for my essay on migration, I am reading "Wives for Virginia, 1621" (WMQ, Jan. 1991) by David Ransome.

It's a fairly straightforward little article which argues that the 57 women shipped to Virginia by the Virginia Company in 1621 as wives for the colonists were of a higher social standing than popularly supposed. Ransome bases this argument on some amazing documents that preserve the women's names, birthplaces, family conditions, and, in one case, letters of recommendation.

The documents are fun, but what makes this article post-worthy is its contribution to my list of favorite 17th-century names: Temperance Flowerdew. Now, Mistress Flowerdew can't quite challenge for the top spot, which still belongs to Humiliation Scratcher (see DHFischer, Albion's Seed), but she certainly earns honorable mention.

Do you have a favorite 17th-century/Puritan name? Leave it in the comments.

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